While China has started identifying novel coronavirus cases on the basis of clinical diagnosis, India has no such plans. Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan told the media on Thursday that China has merely “revised its strategy for combating the disease as precaution”.
Meanwhile, two Indian crew members aboard Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess quarantined at sea off Yokohama have tested positive for infection. External Affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar tweeted, “Our Embassy @IndianEmbTokyo is in constant touch with the crew & passengers of #DiamondPrincess off Yokohama, Japan, rendering all necessary support & assistance. Passengers & crew are currently quarantined by Japanese authorities… 2 Indian crew members have tested positive for #Coronavirus. Will keep you updated.” India is not planning to replicate the model followed by China — in which everyone with symptoms such as fever, cold and sore throat is being isolated — as only three people in the country have tested positive for the infection so far, said officials.
Of the three cases, all of them in Kerala, one patient has been discharged from hospital, the Health Minister said. “China has revised the strategy. They are taking extreme precaution, they are starting to treat any patients with symptoms as positive… They have started doing clinical diagnosis rather than waiting for the test results,” he said.
While reiterating that the coronavirus is highly infectious, he said the “redeeming feature” is that case fatality is about 2 per cent in mainland China and less than 0.2 per cent outside China.
An official said patients are being classified in three categories — suspected, probable and confirmed. “Of the 14,840 new cases that China has now announced, 13,332 are clinically diagnosed, which means they have the symptoms. The number of patients whose samples have tested positive for the virus is 1,508. We do not need to do that yet because we already have isolation and surveillance protocols in place,” he said.
A clinical diagnosis means that the patient has symptoms but they could just as well be due to a common flu infection as due to novel coronavirus.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines